Cruising & Corona: The Pilkington Perspective
I was on a cruise February 29-March 7, just as there was so much development in the news about Corona/COVID-19. I have a few thoughts on the matter, and I'm not going to encourage you to go on a cruise right now. However, cruise ships are not festering cesspools of germs and disease.
-Cruise ships are probably one of the cleanest places you can be. Not only are the staff constantly cleaning, but the passengers are constantly told to wash hands. Norwegian Cruise Line is famous for their "washy washy" people who spray hand sanitizer when you go to meals. This happens every day they are operating.
-What is great about cruises is also what is bad about them. Cruises bring together people from all over the world, and people who would never otherwise meet spend time together on a floating resort. People connect by dining together, playing games, having shore excursions together, etc, and often lasting friendships are made. I think this makes the world a better place! At the same time, there are people on a ship who you would not want to be around. There are enough places on a ship to find the place that works for you. What you hear on the news are the negative things, such as the spread of viruses. This, of course, is a downside of mixing all of these people in close quarters, but it's not because the ships are disgusting.
-Not all cruises are the same. Within in the past few months, I've been on a river cruise with a capacity of fewer than 200, as well as an ocean cruise with a capacity of over 4000. They were two completely different experiences! The river cruise, on AmaWaterways, was like a luxurious, quieter experience in Europe, with a more affluent clientele. The ocean cruise with Norwegian also had a high level of luxury, in the Caribbean, with a larger variety of clientele. Both cruises allow you to unpack once, while you visit multiple ports and countries within the same week. There are also very small ocean cruises, such as the Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection, which would be an experience more similar to a river cruise. Of course, the different experiences come with different price tags!
Maybe now isn't the time for you to go on a cruise, whether you love them or not. However, I think if you rule out cruising as a means of travel, I think you are missing out on some wonderful experiences, as well as a way to travel that provides excellent value. I love land based travel and immersing myself in a culture as much as anyone, but I also love the stress-free travel of river or ocean cruising. For one price (sometimes low, sometimes high), you get your transportation, accommodations, meals, entertainment, and more included. I encourage you to have an open mind when you hear the word "cruise," and be sure to book through a trusted travel advisor, regardless of what type of vacation you choose. Maybe this is the time to plan the trip of a lifetime for next year, or maybe it's the time to travel within driving distance or take a staycation. Either way, we'll take care of you!